Instructors

Family Manners


Jenn Michaelis, CPDT-KA - Training Director, Family Manners

Jenn Michaelis is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), an evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen program, and a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She began her training career in 2003 teaching group dog training classes in Missoula, Montana and began teaching at Port Chester Obedience Training Club in 2011. Owner of SassyT Canine Academy, she also serves a variety of private training clients throughout Westchester and Fairfield Counties. Her classes include all levels of family manners obedience, freestyle, and tricks classes. She also enjoys instructing K9 games classes, dog fitness, and CGC/TDI prep classes. 

Jenn is committed to training dogs with force-free positive-reinforcement training techniques that are fun, effective, and easy to learn. She enjoys empowering and educating dog guardians to create a rewarding experience where the dog becomes a cherished family member. Though blessed to have shared her life with SO many amazing dogs, Jenn is the proud doggy-mom of Terra, her five-year-old Cane Corso, and Ringo, her adopted 7-year-old Chinese Crested. They both train in agility, obedience, freestyle, and nose work. She is an active freestyle competitor with the Musical Dog Sport Association, and she also follows her dog’s nose at K9 Nose Work Trials with the National Association of Canine Scent Work. 

 Contact Jenn at jenn_michaelis@yahoo.com


Virginia Dare, CTP

Virginia Dare's training career began in 1981. She is a nationally recognized positive reinforcement trainer and seminar presenter, and co-producer of clicker training DVDs that are sold worldwide through www.takeabowwow.com. Virginia was a contributing writer for Karen Pryor's Academy of Animal Training & Behavior curriculum, and is a Certified Training Partner (CTP). Virginia was also a faculty member of Karen Pryor's Clicker Expos for six years.

From 2007-2015, Virginia was head trainer for a pet/prison program called Pixie's Pen Pals, working in numerous prisons in the central VA area. Hard-to-adopt shelter dogs are placed with qualified inmates, living at the prison 24/7, until ready to be adopted out to the public.

In 2016, she joined The Good Dog Foundation, a Therapy Dog organization, as executive trainer for the Fairfield/Northern Westchester region.

Virginia was part of an army research project where they worked on an automated system for scent detection training in rats.

Virginia's own dogs have been involved in animal acting, herding, agility, and pet therapy visits. The current group consists of a sheltie mix, min pin, and one agouti (a large South American rodent).

Contact Virginia at Virginiadare2013@gmail.com or 804-784-0120.


Nancy Field, CPDT-KA

Nancy Field is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and an Approved Evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. She began instructing Family Manners classes in 2005.

Her lifelong passion for animals has led to a unique combination of education and experience. During her college years, while completing a B.A. in Biology, Nancy spent summers working for the Children’s Zoo at the Bronx Zoo, and worked with horses as a groom at Finger Lakes Racetrack and at boarding stables in Westchester. She began working professionally with dogs in 1994, after completing a six-month dog training apprenticeship with the ASPCA’s Behavior Department.

Nancy is committed to force-free, reward-based training methods; her goal is to foster and enhance the human/canine relationship while building willing compliance. She continues to expand her knowledge of the latest training methods by attending numerous seminars and workshops covering a wide range of training topics.

She competes in obedience and rally with her Labrador Retriever, Emma (Legacy's Mrs. Peel, RL2) and is currently training Emma for agility comopetition. She previously competed with her dog Nigel (Matego Nigel CGC, RN, RL3), who was titled to the third (highest) level in APDT rally, and earned an award of excellence and a top-20 national ranking in 2005.

Nancy also offers private training and pet behavior problem solving in New York City, Westchester, and southern Fairfield, under the name of Harmony Dog Training.

You can reach Nancy via email at info@harmonydogtraining.com 


Dr. Sabine Hellge, CPDT-KA

Sabine teaches a course for the "Grumpy Growler" who is reactive when encountering strange dogs. The course aims to improve the relationship between the dog and owner, giving the owner the tools to manage critical situations and change the perception of the dog to strange dogs.

Since 2001, Sabine has provided in-home training for pet dogs, specializing in solving problems related to aggression and fear. She is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and a Professional Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Originally from Germany, she provided group training lessons for pet dogs and shelter dogs there.

Sabine also trains in K9 Search and Rescue; she and her Otterhound are a certified mantrailing-team with North Pocono Search Rescue and Recovery. She has trained and titled her Otterhound in Rally Obedience, as well. She has attended numerous workshop, classes and seminars with dog trainers such as Suzanne Clothier, Ian Dunbar, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Pam Dennison, Sassie Joiris, Dr. Ray Coppinger, Kathy Sdao, Pat Miller, Pia Silvani, Turid Rugaas, Trish King, and Jean Donaldson.

Sabine has a PhD in Chemistry from the Technical University Hamburg, Germany. She enjoys traveling, especially in an RV, and observing animals and analyzing their behavior.

Click to email Dr. Hellge.


Misa Martin, CPDT-KA

Misa Martin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. After being invited to come along to Agility practice by a fellow Brooklynite, Misa and her first dog Flop caught the "agility bug" and studied with Tracy Sklenar, Chris Ott, and Mary Lou Hanlon. Years of attending agility seminars, workshops and camps with her first dog led to the beginning of her professional dog training career as a PetSmart Trainer in 2008.

In addition to joining PCOTC's Family Manners program, Misa is a staff trainer at the Mount Vernon Humane Society and Pet Rescue. Misa owns Hudson Valley Dog Trainer, providing reward-based training to private clients.

Through her knowledge, experience, and sense of humor, Misa encourages students to approach dog training as a team effort, where students learn as much from their dogs as dogs learn from their "parents," making training fun for humans and dogs alike!

"My greatest satisfaction since becoming a dog trainer has been seeing my students 'click' with their dogs and be proud of what they've learned together," says Misa.

Misa has competed in NADAC, USDAA, and CPE agility at the Elite and Masters level with her rescued rat terrier Flop. Her newest family member, Jambo, is also training in agility.

Misa is an avid photographer and is currently working on a documentary about dogs adopted from rescues and shelters. She can be reached at misa212@gmail.com


Jamie McKay, CPDT-KSA

Jamie's early training experience was gained in a shelter, enhancing the adoptability of homeless pets through training and behavioral modification, and training new volunteers to safely handle, train and decipher canine body language. Since 2003, her involvement with the New Rochelle Humane Society's Train-To-Adopt program has afforded her the opportunity to work with both a diverse group of people and a large assortment of breeds and temperaments. Jamie is also very active with Tristate Shetland Sheepdog Rescue.

Jamie is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA), an evaluator for the AKC's Canine Good Citizen program, and a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She is the editor of Ask the Trainer: Solutions for Classroom Challenges in the APDT's Chronicles of the Dog, and a contributor to Clean Run magazine.

Jamie regularly attends seminars and is especially interested in learning theory and behavior modification. She believes that a solid training foundation leads to a strong bond, develops the dog's focus and work ethic, and ultimately leads to success regardless of what goals each team aspires to.

Jamie trains her dogs in rally obedience and agility. While she enjoys the titles and ribbons her dogs have achieved, she first and foremost treasures the relationship she has with her dogs.

Jamie and her husband Stephen, who is also a Certified Professional Trainer (CPDT-KSA) and fellow PCOTC instructor, own McKay9 Dog Training LLC. Jamie and Stephen are owned by two Shetland Sheepdogs, a West Highland White Terrier, a Golden Retriever and a Border Collie. Jamie can be reached at jamiemckay@optonline.net


Mary Elizabeth Simpson

An experienced trainer since 1987 and the owner of Joyful Canine Training, Mary-Elizabeth Simpson (APTD, IACP) has worked with various training schools and with professional trainers over the years. She is an AKC CGC evaluator. Mary-Elizabeth teaches both obedience and breed handling at Port Chester Obedience Training Club.

Mary Elizabeth is an active competitor in Obedience, Agility and breed competitions with her Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Australian Shepherd and Border Collies. All of her dogs are titled in one or more of those areas. Some have even attained their Canine Good Citizen's Certificate and have attended nursing homes. Not only has Mary-Elizabeth competed her dogs but has done obedience and agility demos, appeared on Channel 12 news in both CT and NY, appeared in the Stamford Advocate and Times as well as Greenwich Times newspapers documenting her training accomplishments. In addition to running her dogs in performance she has also handled other people's dogs in agility and breed and has done very well, placing at the Westminster dog show and even qualifying for Crufts twice.

Mary Elizabeth is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, International Association of Canine Professionals and various breed clubs. Mary-Elizabeth works on a private basis with dogs who have behavioral problems or need basic training or re-training, as well as working with people who are serious competitors in agility and obedience. She does Pembroke Welsh Corgi rescue and has retrained and re-homed many Corgis as well as mixes successfully. 

Mary Elizabeth can be reached at Simcorgi@aol.com.